The Deadly Duo? From a recent movie?
No, I’m not speaking of a Marvel Comic Book team of evil characters! This team is far more insidious than that and real, not make believe. The deadly duo that I see destroying lives, visions, dreams, ministries, and people themselves is FEAR and PRIDE. These two are experts at hiding behind facades while eloquently manipulating situations and people. Fear is spirit, a really evil one, and Pride is a condition of the heart that allows the evil to do its nasty stuff.
They work in concert to keep an individual in a prison of what is familiar and easy, creating a life that requires little change and no risk-taking. In order to maintain that kind of environment, everyone around the person under the influence of the Duo is expected to remain the same. When the boat of life gets rocked, as it always does, because someone decides to do things differently, the one caught in fear and pride reacts with panic. To be rid of the panic they do everything they can to make sure the status quo is maintained or immediately restored. Even to their own spiritual peril, or making the lives of those around them miserable, these fearful ones full of pride (selfishness, self-willed, self-centered, self-preservationist attitudes) will resist any change. While resisting bad things is good, resisting good things of God is BAD! These folks resist everything, good or bad!
The reason this Duo is so deadly is their facade usually goes totally undetected. I have seen whole ministries fall prey to this evil team and no one would listen or believe what why it was happening. And, I have watched wonderfully gifted people never reach their potential because they won’t recognize they are trapped in a self-made, self-maintained, prison. Fearful self-preservationist people become experts at hiding behind a mask that looks normal, even wise. They project concern, insight, and confidence that the change is wrong. They cater to other’s fears and pride, and quietly endeavor to bring people to their side. Gaining agreement with others, they can often stop the changes.
If that doesn’t work, eventually they will become quite vocal about their concerns to all who will listen, usually playing the victim, stirring up emotion, and garnering sympathy for the plight the change will bring. Some people I know go so far as to make themselves quite ill to avoid new situations and to keep family members imprisoned with them. Finally, if all the manipulating fails, they will “wash their hands of it” and stubbornly, often angrily, refuse to participate while denigrating those who won’t listen to their “warnings” that things must and should remain as they are, even making claims that everyone is out of the will of God.
Sadness grips me even as I write this as those folks in the Deadly Duo’s prison, truly have no clue what they are doing. In their minds, they are doing the right thing at all times. It is right to them because it stops the panic that the thought of change brings and it neutralizes the challenge of preparing to experience something new. These ones are so caught in fear and self that they cannot accept the fact that God’s Kingdom is in constant change! Nor can they see how the change would benefit them or others. They often live in a constant state of internal nervous frustration and dread.
Our amazing and wonderful God is just the opposite. He is all about transformation, creativity, freedom, walking in the Spirit to new places in Him. New doors, New seasons, Newness is His game! All of this is to delight and to bless us so we can bless others. I have heard trapped folks proclaim it is a new season and new day, but their actions short-circuit any forward motion. Truth is, if we desire His new things and His transformation process, we must remember it is spelled C-H-A-N-G-E! Fighting to keep the status quo and never experiencing the boat rocking that is a catalyst to the NEW means we are fighting against God Himself.
I can write about this so very personally because I use to be trapped by this deadly duo. With all my being, I would work to keep things the way I wanted them. Everything needed to be familiar, predictable, and therefore easy for me to do; never uncomfortable, never a stretch. But, growth in the ways of God and saying “yes” to Him demands we break out of those boxes we have set up for ourselves. He wants us to be risk-takers. He wants us to believe Him for the things HE can do through us that are new and exciting and over and above what we could never do relying on ourselves alone.
Life in Christ Jesus is to be a Grand Adventure full of opportunities to stretch, grow and change in Him. (Ephesians 3:20-21) That doesn’t mean a person must leave everything and head for the jungles of Africa, though even that could happen as we yield to the calling of our Lord. Most of the time it’s not jungles or foreign lands Holy Spirit leads us to. Instead, it means we hear His voice and we are willing, despite concerns we have about it, to be expanded beyond what we think is our capacity is to represent Him in our sphere of influence. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Most of the time growing and changing happens right smack dab in the place where we are planted.
So, does this mean we should never react with fear or wonder if something new is the right thing or not? Absolutely not! (1 John 4:1-4) Some things are not at all from God and some things are indeed scary. Never spoke before a group before, and God calls you to share your testimony, would be quite nerve racking for most people. It sure was for me the first time God asked me to do that. Being cautious, seeking God in prayer, and checking out new opportunities before taking a risk and participating is absolutely wise activity. However, never doing anything new, avoiding opportunities to grow, change and bless others, following a pattern of stopping, or trying to stop new things, never stepping out of your comfort zone, and suggesting others do the same, are all signs of suffering under the tyrannical grip of the Deadly Duo.
If you related to all or part of this article, take heart! Being released from the Deadly Duo prison is what God wants for you. The grip of fear can be dealt with by tackling the selfishness and self-preservation it is attached to. Submitting to God we resist the devil and he flees from us (James 4:7). Repentance for being so prideful as to fight the forward motion of God’s Kingdom will set the stage for freedom from the life-paralyzing fear. Father God is quick to forgive as we come in Jesus Name. He wants this freedom for you and me!
Asking Father God to free you of fear is the next step. Declaring scriptures such as Philippians 4:6-7 and 2 Timothy 1:7 will help in this process. Repent for being fearful and declare you have placed your trust in Him and Him alone. The next step is the hardest. Believe you ARE FORGIVEN and FREE. Act accordingly. Ask Father God to present you with an opportunity that will trigger change in your life. When the opportunity comes, follow through despite any fears. This is what it means in Romans 12:1 to present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. We must surrender our lives fully, not just in part in order for our Great Adventure in Christ Jesus to fully manifest.
When we let go of our preconceived notions about our lives and ask Father God to help us step into His divine call and purpose for us, that is when He destroys the thief that came to steal our LIFE ABUNDANT (John 10:10) and His JOY FULL of GLORY (1 Peter 1:8) becomes ours!
My prayer is that this article is a blessing to you!
With love and peace to you and yours,